First seen on SIA blog (10/23/13)
If you’re not integrating PR into your marketing and sales mix, you’re missing out on capturing market share that’s ready for the taking. What is PR? It can mean different things to different people, but in its simplest terms, public relations is promoting a company to create a favorable opinion among its audiences. The goal is to build brand reputation and ultimately influence the buyer to purchase your product, service or solution.
Traditionally, PR meant accomplishing this through coverage in the press. While that’s still a critical part of PR, today public relations encompasses much more than media relations. It has converged with marketing in some areas, in large part because of the push toward content creation and promotion.
PR strategies can include media relations, analyst relations, public affairs, community relations, reputation management and crisis communications. Tactics include media and analyst coverage, bylined articles, blogs, social media, trade shows and other events, award recognition and speaking engagements.
But regardless of the combination of strategies and tactics you use, PR is about increasing brand awareness, building thought leadership and establishing credibility for your company. These PR goals support lead generation and sales, and can accelerate the buying process.
So how do staffing companies use PR to differentiate themselves and build their brands? A simple start is to become part of the conversation. What are the hot topics in staffing? What is it about contingent labor that is trending? When the employment numbers come out every month from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, what do you have to say about them? Develop just a few key points you want to make, and share them. They need to be different than what others have already said. What are you bringing that’s unique to the conversation? Talking about your own products and services won’t make others listen. But sharing insight and trends that matter to your audience will.
How are you communicating that you’re an expert in your industry?
Do you speak at industry events?
Are you quoted in trade publications as a resource?
Do you author a weekly blog that showcases your expertise?
An easy place to start is by periodically submitting a guest blog post on a staffing-related topic to Staffing Stream.
How many folks in your target audience are familiar with your brand? Increase awareness by drafting content and pushing it out to your audiences. Begin with short social media postings – a 140 character tweet a day that shares an insightful thought. Share other industry influencers’ content, and they’ll take note. Soon they’ll be paying attention to you, so be ready with something meaningful to say!
If your focus is on a local market, be sure you’re commenting on articles in your online local business journal. If your niche is in a particular industry that’s relevant nationwide, place a bylined article in a trade magazine, and once published share it with your audiences via blog and social media posts, emails to customers and VIPs, post it on your website, etc.
The value of third party endorsement, such as a media outlet favorably talking about you or incorporating one of your quotes, cannot be underestimated. Client testimonials and other industry influencers including you in their online dialogue is a tremendous and effective way to build credibility, too. But it’s no longer the ONLY way your company can be heard. Create engaging content, and ignite a conversation. Build a community of followers and you’ll start to build brand loyalty.
PR can take your brand to another level, and make you stand out from the rest. When integrated with other sales and marketing strategies, you’ll start to see the returns.